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Fileless Execution Detection


The FilelessExecution signature is crafted to detect instances of fileless execution, which involves running processes directly from memory rather than from a file on the file system. Adversaries use such techniques to escape detection, as fileless operations don't leave traditional footprints on the disk.


Fileless execution is a sophisticated technique that circumvents traditional security mechanisms which focus on files. By running processes directly from memory, malicious actors can potentially operate undetected, as no file artifacts are created on the storage system.

The FilelessExecution signature identifies these fileless execution attempts by monitoring the sched_process_exec event. If it detects the process is originating from a memory location rather than a file, an alert is raised.


The main goal of the FilelessExecution signature is to provide real-time detection and alerts for fileless execution attempts. With an increasing number of threats leveraging fileless techniques for stealth, being able to detect such activities is crucial for maintaining a robust security posture.


  • ID: TRC-105
  • Version: 1
  • Name: Fileless execution detected
  • EventName: fileless_execution
  • Description: Fileless execution was detected. Executing a process from memory instead from a file in the filesystem may indicate that an adversary is trying to avoid execution detection.
  • Properties:
  • Severity: 3 (Moderate to high threat level)
  • Category: defense-evasion
  • Technique: Reflective Code Loading
  • Kubernetes_Technique: N/A
  • id: attack-pattern--4933e63b-9b77-476e-ab29-761bc5b7d15a
  • external_id: T1620


Upon detecting a potential fileless execution, the signature produces a Finding data structure comprising:

  • SigMetadata: Metadata detailing the threat based on the signature's specifications.
  • Event: A comprehensive log of the specific event that prompted the detection.
  • Data: Currently set to nil, signifying that no supplementary data supports the detection.

Events Used

The signature predominantly monitors the following event:

  • sched_process_exec: This event is triggered when there's an attempt to execute a process. The signature checks if the process's origin is a memory path, hinting at a fileless execution attempt.